Tourism officials push for resumption of Russia flights in last quarter

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand says it’s essential that commercial flights between Russia and Thailand be allowed to resume during the last quarter of the year. However, under Thailand’s emergency decree, international flights can only operate as semi-commercial, with limited seat capacity. Khanittha Phanworawat from the TAT’s Moscow office says this means the Russian aviation authority is still not allowing flights to Thailand.

The Bangkok Post reports that while there is some demand for Thailand in the Russian market, the lack of direct flights to places like Phuket is proving an obstacle. Further exacerbating the situation is Aeroflot’s decision to suspend flights to Bangkok until October 31 in order to avoid flying over Afghanistan’s airspace.

Khanittha says that if international air travel could resume between Russia and Thailand, Russian tour operators are prepared to operate charter flights within a month. Russia has recently resumed flights to 56 other countries, including destinations popular with Russian tourists, where there are fewer restrictions and lower costs, compared to Thailand.

During 2019, Thailand welcomed 1.48 Russian tourists, generating nearly 103 billion baht. Nearly 700,000 of them came in the last quarter of the year. During 2020, the number of Russian visitors plummeted by over 60%. Next year, the TAT hopes to lure 500,000 – 700,000 Russians.

Following the Thai government’s decision to approve the Sputnik V vaccine for tourists entering Thailand, Khanittha says around 100 Russians a day have applied for a Certificate of Entry. She says most are return visitors to Phuket, favouring destinations with no mandatory quarantine. However, she says the additional costs associated with travelling to Thailand at the moment risk being a deterrent, including payment for multiple PCR tests and Covid-19 insurance.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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